In my nearly 30 years covering pollution issues at National Wildlife Refuges, I have come across several courageous field level employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and a few cowards in management positions, managers who are afraid of politicians, polluters, and their own shadows. A good example is the debacle at the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge in the early 1980s, where toxic selenium-tainted agricultural waste water from the Westlands Water District polluted the food chain in evaporation ponds at the Merced County "refuge," a supposed haven for migratory ducks and birds, triggering deformities and reproductive failure. There were heroes like biologist Felix Smith - who leaked the Kesterson findings to Fresno Bee reporter Deborah Blum, and there were cowards in the Portland regional office who participated in a cover-up to delay release of the Kesterson findings. READ MORE »
The news has broken that selenium from phosphate mining in Idaho has triggered grotesque mutations in fish in Idaho creeks, notably two-headed fish. This story was first broken by Patrick Porgans, a California State Water Resources Control Board watchdog and top notch investigator. He had been sitting on the story for months in order to protect his sources. Porgan's detailed report can be found at his website: www.planetarysolutionaires.org.
A Reuters News Service article on the two-headed fish, reprinted at the Scientific American magazine website, can also be found at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=idaho-mine-understates-impact-on-fi READ MORE »